Peter Aldhous in BuzzFeed:
Rather than focusing on stress, the new interrogation research program has concentrated on interviewing techniques that help people remember details about events — and make it harder for liars to keep their story together.
Central to this approach is the “cognitive interview,” developed by Ronald Fisher, a psychologist at Florida International University in Miami. Rather than being asked a series of questions, suspects may be told to close their eyes and recall what happened at a key meeting, or draw a sketch of the room in which it took place. They are encouraged to go over events repeatedly and offer details whether or not they seem important.
In one test, Fisher’s team asked seasoned instructors at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, to get their colleagues to recall the details of meetings held to plan field exercises. Those who used a cognitive interview, rather than the standard approach of asking direct questions,extracted 80% more information.
This approach can also separate liars from truth-tellers. When recalling their experiences in a cognitive interview, people who are telling the truth give longer and more detailed answers.